Cape Town - The presence of rival gangs in a court in Cape Town on Tuesday, and death threats made to a juvenile gangster, caused the postponement of the case involving the juvenile to an undisclosed date and venue for security reasons.
The youth, 14, may not be named due to his age.
He appeared in the Bellville Regional Court, charged with murder, the illegal possession of a firearm, and four counts of attempted murder, but he has not yet been asked to plead to the charges.
On the murder charge, it is alleged that he belonged to a gang that used him as its “hitman”, and that he shot dead a member of a rival gang.
At his very first court appearance in the Bellville District Court, he was released from police custody into the care of his parents – normal practice with juveniles.
However, police were later tipped off that he was in illegal possession of a firearm, and when a group of four police officials approached him he allegedly opened fire on them, but missed.
The shots fired at the police officials form the basis of the four attempted murder charges.
His trial on the six counts was scheduled to commence in the Bellville Regional Court on Tuesday, and the prosecutor had duly subpoenaed the first State witness to testify.
As it turned out, the subpoenaed witness arrived at court, accompanied by a gang member.
In the courtroom, this gang member happened to recognise a rival gangster who was facing charges in a different matter.
The presence of the two gangsters in the court room triggered death threats between them, as well as threats aimed at the juvenile.
In one of the threats, the juvenile and another gangster were warned: “Today is the day that we’re taking you both out.”
Soon afterwards, more gangsters arrived – apparently members of the youth’s gang.
For security reasons, the case involving the juvenile was postponed to a date in January, at an undisclosed venue, when a heavy police presence is expected.